It had been hoped that Newcastle fans would be back at St James Park to watch the new-look Magpies when we take on Burnley the first weekend in October. Recent reports suggested that was when the Premier League would open stadiums back up to supporters in a limited capacity.
However, new comments from Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cast some doubt on that happening. The Mirror has published the following comments from the Prime Minister after a recent uptick in coronavirus cases hit the UK:
“We must revise plans to pilot larger audiences in stadiums & review our intention to return audiences to stadiums from the 1st October.
“That doesn’t mean we’re going to scrap the program entirely. It just means we are going to review and abridge it.
“Organized sport will still be able to proceed.”
These comments are concerning and could see the date fans return to stadiums delayed indefinitely. This would be a dire development for the Premier League and it’s member clubs who are already reeling from lost revenues.
Premier League chief Richard Masters today responded to the news of this potential setback. Here’s what Masters told BBC Sport:
“We have to get back to fans inside stadia as quickly as possible – that’s the big thing that’s missing, economic or otherwise – we need fans back inside stadiums for all sorts of reasons and it’s the number one priority.
“It doesn’t lower our ambitions – it just means that we’ll have to adapt – it’s one thing we’ve shown over recent months, we’re able to adapt to the situation.
“We wait to see what impact it has on the government’s testing program, and permissions it’s going to give, and also on that crucial 1 October date. We wait to see what the government decides and we’ll remain in dialogue with them throughout.
“We always knew September was going to be a difficult month at the start of the return to normality the government was talking about, and so we should anticipate bumps in the road.”
It looks like Masters is committed to getting fans back as soon as possible, though that’s not going to happen without the government’s consent. So we’ll see where this goes from here but it does look like another ‘bump in the road’ for now.
Masters was also asked about Newcastle’s recent takeover collapse today. NUFC 360 has tweeted the following clip of Masters on the takeover.
Richard Masters says he sympathises with fans of Newcastle United and this was why he spoke to the NUFC Trust and wrote an open letter to MPs surround the failed takeover. #nufc pic.twitter.com/D2VjtroHIR
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) September 9, 2020